Microsoft has joined the Linux foundation

No need to adjust your screen, Hell hasn’t frozen over – Microsoft has joined the Linux foundation as a platinum member.

The company has gradually been embracing open source, having made .NET open source in 2014 and Visual Studio Code editor open source the following year. In fact, Microsoft is now the top organisation with the most open source contributors on Github.

This move would have been unthinkable a decade ago, with former CEO Steve Ballmer branding the foundation "a cancer" back in 2001.

Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, has welcomed the company joining the foundation: "Microsoft is better able to collaborate with the open source community to deliver transformative mobile and cloud experiences to more people."

It is the latest in a marked shift of the company under the tenure of Ballmer’s successor Satya Nadella who has gone to great lengths in order to push away from Microsoft’s reputation for closed-source proprietary software.

Along with the afforementioned open-sourcing of .NET and Visual Studio Code editor, Microsoft has also made open-sourced PowerShell and Microsoft Edge’s JavaScript engine. In addition, the company has partnered with Canonical to bring Ubuntu to Windows 10 and has acquired Xamarin to aid mobile development. Microsoft has open sourced Xamarin’s SDK and developer tools and has brought the SQL Server to Linux.

Microsoft’s open source news arrived simultaneously along with a less surprising reveal of a Visual Studio for Mac release – which had accidentally been revealed earlier this week. It’s built on top of Xamarin Studio that the company acquired earlier this year. Windows and Mac developers will be able to share and contribute to the same projects with the new software.

Elsewhere in surprising news, Google has announced that it is joining the .NET Foundation, which oversees .NET Platform programming languages that form part of Microsoft’s major competitor to Java and Android. Google hasn’t shown a whole lot of interest in supporting .NET or providing apps for Microsoft’s new UWP platform, it is planning to support .NET in its Google Cloud platform. 

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